By Kamyuka Kenneth
The Olympic Team of Uganda began the week in the global spotlight after recording a positive case for the coronavirus among the nine-man first batch to the Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan.
Patrick Lihanda, one of Uganda’s two boxing coaches, was isolated from the rest of the group upon arrival at Tokyo’s Narita airport on Saturday night. The other eight members of the contingent proceeded to Izumisano city in the Osaka Prefecture.
Uganda’s team Chef de Mission Beatrice Ayikoru says that the case in Tokyo is fine. “He is asymptomatic and we hope he will be well soon,” she said. That batch that left on Friday afternoon for a 30-day camp in Izumisano in company of Japanese coordinator Shiya Kenichi is the second nation to arrive early for acclimatization after Australia’s women softball team.
The batch comprises five athletes; weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko, swimmer Atuhaire Ambale and three boxers Shadir Musa, David Semujju and Catherine Nanziri.
The accompanying officials are boxing coaching duo Lihanda and Hassan Mulandi, Ssekitoleko’s coach Hakim Musoke and leader David Katende, also the assistant general secretary of National Council of Sports.
For the next batch to Tokyo, the Uganda Olympic Committee says they will have to camp first. “They will be in bubble camp,” UOC general secretary Ayikoru has stated.
“We are sorting out a few things. The next team will be traveling on July 12. That is enough to monitor and implement Covid-19 protocols,” she added. Travel to Japan is very strict and they had at least done everything right prior to departure aboard Qatar Airways.
All individuals who travelled last week had been vaccinated against Covid-19 with two jabs of the AstraZeneca vaccine each.
Daily Monitor further notes that Atuhaire’s coach Muzafaru Muwanguzi was left behind because he had not completed his vaccination process.
Part of the criteria for travel by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Japanese government and Olympics organizers, required the contingent to have negative results after two Covid-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests within 96 hours before landing in Japan.
The group did the first tests on Tuesday and the second on Thursday morning. They would have a flag-off later before heading into a small bio-bubble until departure.
Also, they each had to have secured medical treatment and repatriation insurance (including cover for Covid-19) covering the entire period of their stay in Japan among other medical requirements.